Ships and boats

From the story of the world's only surviving tea clipper, Cutty Sark, and the voyages of discovery made by Captain Cook's sloop HMS Resolution, to the evolution of shipbuilding and design through the ages, we delve into the fascinating history of ships and boats.


The East India Company employed Asian seamen known as 'Lascars' in the 17th century, who served on European ships.


A captain going down with his sinking ship is one of the strongest and most honourable traditions of the sea.

Ark Royal' (1587).jpg

The Royal Navy's ship HMS Ark Royal is the fifth by that name to have served the Crown.

The 'Wolf' (1826), or (1814), brig of war, late of the Royal Navy, making signal and laying to, for a pilot off Dover PU6134_slider.JPG

During the 17th to 19th centuries, the British Royal Navy had a number of unrated vessels under the command of lieutenants and commanders.


Portsmouth is a major British naval base. Nelson left from Portsmouth on board HMS Victory to go to the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.


Royal Naval Dockyards were used to build navy ships during the 17th and 18th centuries. The Navy Board was responsible for running them.

England had a number of naval anchorages situated around its coastline, where vessels could dock when not out at sea or engaged in combat.


A Matthew Walker Knot keeps the end of a rope from fraying but its origins are a mystery.


The Terra Nova was built in 1884 as a whaling ship but became better known for her role in Polar exploration and her association with Captain Scott. 

The rating system of the British Royal Navy was used to categorise warships between the 17th and 19th centuries. There were six rates of warship.